(in which Jason and Kate have a crisis of faith)
KATE: Hey Jason! What an episode, right? We’re officially halfway through the season, so I figured it’s as good a time as any to discuss the season so far…before wildly flailing about and predicting where the show might go from here.
Maybe I’m too obsessed with parallels to the source material (and I think it’s safe to say I am), but the focus of this season has been character development. Think of where we started–everyone thought Will was the Chesapeake Ripper and had to come to grips with that. A few episodes later, Will has to drop some hints that Hannibal is the real killer and Jack is immediately testing appetizers for evidence of human flesh. It doesn’t take a lot to convince Jack that something is off with Hannibal–really, just that one conversation with Dr. Chilton– and that’s telling. Why is he so easy to convince? Is it because he’s never trusted Hannibal in the first place? Jack routinely bears his soul to the man, so that’s doubtful. Is it because he’s a cop? Maybe…Jack is always ready to suspect anyone of anything. Is it because it would mean Will isn’t guilty? Probably.
Have you noticed that every character on this show has an almost unnatural draw towards Will? Doesn’t that strike you as odd? He’s almost a deus ex machina at this point. Before evidence at the lab surfaces supporting Will, Jack is willing to take Will to crime scenes and test the meat served at Hannibal’s shindig. Dr. Chilton buys into the idea that Hannibal is a cannibal for no other reason than he heard Will pitching it to Gideon in his cell. That’s weird, right?
Then there’s Alana. Alana has sex with Hannibal and it’s explained later that she did it because she’s grieving for Will. Wait, what? That animal hoarder/suspected serial killer that you kissed once? Okay, I guess. To be fair, Hannibal says something similar, but it’s later revealed he’s using Alana as an alibi. That’s just bad writing. This is a show already lacking in female characters. In this season alone, one disappeared out of fear, one is a guest star wife at death’s door and a third was chopped into pieces. Alana, on the other hand, is a living litmus test indicating the fortunes of two male characters. She may bear an odd Will shaped cross, but her interest is ultimately with Hannibal. Her arc with Hannibal and Will has reduced Alana into a Golden Vagina Trophy**, which remains a cheap and regressive writing technique.
Ugh, there’s so much I haven’t commented on. This episode was SO heavy on Hannibal/Silence of the Lambs callbacks. That conversation between Will and Jack when they discuss the Chesapeake Ripper’s motives? Hannibal’s dinner scene with Gideon? That scene in the barn? Stop it, Fuller. It hurts too much.
So where do we go from here? How soon until Jack and Hannibal rumble? Does Hannibal cook breakfast the morning after? Will the Vergers show up this season? Jason, help! There’s too many emotions!
Some odd things to focus on:
–Do you really think Jack knew the names of all those flowers off the top of his head? I don’t.
–**For readers unfamiliar with the term I made up, a Golden Vagina Trophy is a word for a female character who exists as a prize to be fought over by two men. Common examples include: Laurie Grimes (The Walking Dead) and Julia McNamara (Nip/Tuck).
JASON: I don’t know what this says about me, but even though this episode ended with Eddie Izzard eating his own leg, I was far more disturbed by the pillow talk between Hannibal and Alana.
Before I go any further, let me second your concerns with the Golden Vagina Trophy. We’ve talked about this show’s progressive distribution of female character during this very season, but as of this episode, I’m a little bit concerned. I understand that Gillian Anderson has a full schedule, and Beverly Katz’s storyline made her more interesting than either of her male co-workers. But when you consider the fact that Bella will probably die before the season is up, it starts to look like Fuller and company are sort of mowing down their female characters. Granted, this episode kills one male character and brings back a female one that we thought was dead… but still, it does worry me a little.
I don’t think this would bother me if it weren’t for Alana’s storyline in this episode. I know I swore to put all of my faith in the Holy Trinity of Fuller, Mikkelsen and Dancy, but I can’t help but think that the show is wasting Dr. Bloom. Fuller seems to be aware of it, too; he’s mentioned in interviews that he worries about tying Alan’s character arc too closely to her romantic feelings for Will. But his solution appears to be… tying her character arc to her romantic feelings for Hannibal. To a certain degree, everyone in this show is defined by their relationship Hannibal or Will, but having a female character bounce back and forth between them like the aforementioned trophy just feels lazy. On a lot of shows, it wouldn’t stick out, but Hannibal is usually so well-written that it really bugs me.
But it’s possible I just don’t like the idea of Hannibal and Alana having sex. I’m going to take another step further away from legitimate criticism here, but seriously: ew. Ew ew ew. I can’t say it’s out of character for Hannibal to want to cloud Alana’s judgement with a thick fog of European sex appeal or for Alana to be attracted to someone with the wounded puppy-dog appeal of having almost died. But actually seeing it happen just feels unnatural, possibly because I don’t like seeing Hannibal as a sexual being… but again, that might say more about me than about the show.
I don’t quite agree with you about Chilton and Jack switching to Will’s side too easily. Jack has wanted to believe Will since the season began, and Chilton… well, I think Chilton just wants to feel smarter than everyone else. It just so happens that in this case, he’s right. By the way, since this season has been so light on Freddie Lounds, Chilton has become my go-to favorite, for all his oily self-confidence and that adorable cane he walks around with.
Come to think of it, if this show gave us a little more Freddie, it would go a long way towards smoothing out the dead woman issue. In fact, can we get her a Chilton together more often? Ooh! They could share an apartment! Do you think Fuller is accepting spec scripts? Because this could be just the dose of wackiness this show needs.
–so, we kind of glossed over this, but it looks like Will is going to be cleared of all those murders he didn’t commit. Not gonna lie, I didn’t think he’d get out of that cell until the end of the season, but I’m excited to see where we go now.
–sub-note to the previous note: do you think Hannibal decided to free Will because Wil tried to murder him? Hannibal, the loving teacher, proud that Will is finally embracing his murderous potential.